20 Nov News: Q & A with SUNYCUAD President Scott Titus
SUNYCUAD President Scott Titus took office in June 2016. Scott, director of marketing and new media at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, has served SUNYCUAD for several years as both an officer and board member. He has overseen a number of key projects and initiatives for the organization including the annual Awards for Excellence, Charlton Scholarships, and online membership system.
We asked him to take a few moments from his busy schedule to chat with us about what’s the future holds for SUNYCUAD members.
How did you get involved in SUNYCUAD?
Scott: Through my boss at Onondaga Community College, Amy Kremenek. Amy encouraged me to attend my first SUNYCUAD conference and has always been supportive of my continued involvement with the organization.
How has your participation as a SUNYCUAD board member, and now as president, enhanced your own professional development?
Scott: I manage people in my current position at work but working with the SUNYCUAD board is different. It’s a much larger group. It’s taught me how to be a more effective leader.
Taking on the role of president is quite a commitment. Why did you feel it was important to do?
Scott: I’ll be honest with you. I was a little hesitant at first, but from my very first conference through my experience as a board member, I’ve just personally gotten so much out of the my involvement with the organization that I felt strongly about giving back. Also, I was really excited about some of the opportunities SUNYCUAD could pursue. And selfishly, I still get a lot out of it in terms of professional development. I pick up new things all the time, and am able to improve my skills and learn more about SUNY and higher ed.
Have you set an agenda for yourself as president?
Scott: Yes, I really wanted to be deliberate. One of the things I’ve noticed in the past is there are a lot of great people in the room and we have a lot of great ideas, but sometimes it feels overwhelming. We get back to our regular jobs and all those great ideas kind of fade away. So I wanted to try to facilitate some of these great ideas and make sure we have an opportunity to act on them. For example, in our board retreat, we outlined our goals and focus for the coming year. We have a clear mission. I hope that will help all the board members because they’re really the ones who do all the heavy lifting.
What goals did the board identify?
Scott: The overarching theme is to do more to serve our membership. We looked at how we could expand beyond the once-a-year conference and offer other professional development opportunities throughout the year, perhaps smaller workshops or webinars. That would make it easier for SUNYCUAD members to get together, network with their peers from other institutions, and participate in professional development more than once a year. It would make it feasible for those who don’t have budgets that allow them to attend the annual conference.
We’ve also set a goal of increasing and improving our outreach to individuals at SUNY campuses other than our own in order to make them aware of what’s going on with SUNYCUAD and how the organization can be of service to them. At the end of the day, a lot comes down to one-to-one interactions.
Are SUNYCUAD members expressing interest in particular professional development opportunities?
Scott: I think it’s always changing. The biggest thing I’ve heard from members, particularly at the most recent conferences, is that everyone is wearing more hats on the job. A lot of people are generalists. They may gave originally been focused on alumni development and now they’re doing more things related to alumni development that might have originally been handled by marketing and communications in the past. That’s one big thing — trying to come up with professional development that focuses on core issues and core skills that apply to everybody.
What can you share about the upcoming conference in Tarrytown in June 2017?
Scott: I’m really excited about the work that our board member Tracy Rammacher from SUNY Cortland, this year’s programming chair, is doing for the conference. She’s surveying the membership right now to make sure our speakers and programming reflect what people are looking for. Because the conference is taking place close to New York City, she’s also able to tap into speakers and resources that might not have otherwise been available to us. And we’re offering an incentive to members. Anyone who fills out the survey will have a chance to win a free registration for the conference.
When you’re not working or managing SUNYCUAD board meetings and activities, what are you likely to be doing?
Scott: Mostly chasing after kids. If I had more time, I’d probably like to be spending more time on my hobby — woodworking. I enjoy that. Right now I’m building a wooden kayak with my 6-year-old son Matt. He’s pushing for where the motor’s going to go on it, but I try to tell him it’s just powered by you or an oar or paddle. We have fun working on it together.
What would you really like to say to SUNYCUAD members?
Scott: Get involved in as much as you possibly can. You will take away from the experience more than you give. I can’t say enough about it. And let us know what you’re interested in. We need to hear from the members so we can be sure we’re addressing their needs. They can speak to any board member, not just me.